Books With GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) Characters

Books With GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) Characters

As a little bit of a tease, I do have some great news to share, but I can’t share it right now until a certain condition is met–and another piece of awesome news, but the details are still being worked out. On the other hand, I can give you a hint about the latest book I’m working on: this book contains an asexual male. This book is actually a re-vamped version of a book I started last year, so it’s a dramatic change, but one I’m sticking with because I finally want to delve into writing contemporary YA issues-based books. The Stars Trilogy will probably be my last and only trilogy/series.

With that in mind, I have been reading a lot of books along the GSM spectrum, and while I haven’t been able to find any books with asexual characters you don’t have to analyze to know they are asexual, I’ve still found a few golden reads, and I’d like to share them with you. With the increasing attention the GSM community is getting, I think it is vital that people start to read books with GSM characters in order to understand what it’s like living with sexual and gender identities that are neither cis nor hetero.

Now keep in mind that these are all YA novels, because they are primarily what I read, but they still give you a fantastic glimpse of what it’s like for people in the GSM community.

  • LunaLuna by Julie Anne Peters. This book involves the story of a transgender teen wanting to transition from male to female. She calls herself Luna (real name Liam). She only feels safe transforming into Luna in the safety of her basement bedroom. This is the first book I read with a transgender teen, and I’m going to try to find others to read as well.









  • freakboyFreakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark. Brendan Chase feels like he’s in the wrong body–but then sometimes he doesn’t. He’s actually gender fluid, and this was the first time I learned about gender fluidity.









  • safe Safe by C. Kennedy. All Caleb wants to do is protect his boyfriend Nico from his father. This book was actually quite a shock to me, because some scenes were a little more detailed than what YA generally allows. But its publisher, Harmony Ink Press, is about pushing the boundaries of YA literature, do I figured I would throw this one in the list for breaking boundaries.








  • HeavyweightLGHeavyweight by MB Mulhall. Ian’s crush on Julian Yang threatens to reveal that he’s a gay youth living in a backwater southern town. This book is unique because it isn’t just about a gay youth, but a gay youth who also struggles with an eating disorder. It’s uncommon to find books about males struggling with eating disorders.









  • scarsScars by Cheryl Rainfield. Kendra is self-harming to suppress some horrible memories of childhood sexual abuse. I chose this book because it doesn’t even revolve around Kendra’s sexuality at all. Yet, near the end, she has a girlfriend, and she never once thinks that it’s unusual. So this book treats homosexuality like heterosexuality, and that’s what I liked about it.








Currently I’m reading Tales from Foster High by John Goode, and it seems like the series is going to revolve around several gay youth during their high school years. I might post a review on this when I’m done with it.

I definitely recommend checking out these books. Also check out Harmony Ink Press for more books, because they are about publishing books with teens in the GSM community.


Raise Awareness for Asexuality!

Raise Awareness for Asexuality!

Just decided to post this here before Pride Month ends. I hope you all will help!

So why do we need awareness?

  1. Many don’t understand asexuality. They conflate it with the biological definition of asexual.
  2. They think we are bizarre or broken or mentally ill or need therapy.
  3. We are dehumanized, stigmatized, and seen as frigid or robotic.
  4. We can face the same issues other orientations in the GSM (gender and sexual minorities) community experience: corrective rape, outgroup dislike (people who tend to dislike homosexuals also dislike bisexuals, pansexuals, and asexuals), and negative attitudes expressed by those unwilling to understand asexuality.
  5. Being a minority also can make us a target for disdain and prejudice (bullying, some have been denied housing, some have been denied adoption).
  6. Some asexuals have received death threats and are told they just need to be raped to fix this “problem” of asexuality.
  7. We’re seriously treated like lepers. In this (A)sexual documentary, when the asexual community decides to include themselves in the Pride Parade, even those within the community actually told the asexuals to stay away from them, as though our asexuality would turn them asexual, to0. Does this line of thought sound familiar for how some straight people treat homosexuals?
  8. When we try to talk about experiences unique to asexuals or unique to those in the GSM community, we are told they aren’t real or those problems were because of something else.
  9. We experience erasure in everything.

ace awareness

The Issues With Hijacking LGBTQ+ Spaces

The Issues With Hijacking LGBTQ+ Spaces

christian comicI shared this on my Facebook feed from Lizzy the Lezzy’s page, thinking that it was just a funny little thing to post because it’s true for those in the community that they have been bashed by people who claim to be Christians. However, I didn’t realize that this simple little comic was going to be hijacked, and that a storm was going to ensue. Because, to me, the only people who are going to be offended by this are the ones who do this or the ones who don’t realize the reality that many of those in the LGBTQ+ community face, even for those who are Christians themselves! Other Christians have denied their Christianity, just because of who they are. However, this is the gist of what happened:

I posted this comic with a statement saying ‘This is 100% accurate,’ because this is 100% accurate for those in the community who have experienced this real thing. Again, many LGBTQ+ Christian individuals have been denied their Christianity because of hardcore Christians like this. And I would like to say these aren’t real Christians, because they aren’t, but these no-real Christians are also part of like-minded groups, so it’s hard to deny their Christianity when they are part of larger groups that will defend them. Not to mention that Christians have been the historical oppressors of LGBTQ+ individuals. So, not all Christians, but Christians–hardcore, let me be specific–are the ones who do this sort of thing. Of course, I thought this message would be clear, until someone came in and had the gall to basically say, ‘Not all Christians are like this, and I’m disgusted by this comic!’

There is a very real problem with what this person did. For those in the community, gays know that this is a reality (and I’m not using ‘we’ this time, because while some asexuals have come across Christians who do tell them their lifestyles are sinful, it’s gays who are more commonly met with this, at least as far as we know for now). I’ll bet you just about every gay person in America has come across a Christian who has done this exact thing to them. While this is a caricature, it is unfortunately a very real thing. But it was made as a caricature so those in the community could laugh at it. Because what else is there to do but laugh? Get angry? People in the community are tired of getting angry at stuff like this, so you have a person like Lizzy the Lezzy who made a comedic FB page to poke fun at stuff like this so those in the community could have something to laugh at.

Laughter is a lot healthier than anger.

I tried to reason with her by pointing out this comic wasn’t talking about her, that she can feel offended all she wants, but at the end of the day, there is no reason for her to get offended by something that, you know, actually happens to these people. There was no reason for her to come in to defend Christians, or to even come in to defend herself, when this comic wasn’t speaking about all Christians or even her. If you’re not a Christian who does this, then great. Keep doing what you’re doing. But I’m not giving you cookies, brownies, gold stars, unicorn glitter, a million dollars, or anything for being a decent person. I don’t care if you’re a Christian or not. What I cared about when posting that comic at the time was making some of my gay friends laugh, because many of them know this is true. Because, again, it is, and I have no idea how many times I have to post that this comic is true right down to the last letter before someone gets it.

Then another issue arose. Someone came in to defend her, and while he was considering my points more than she was, he tried to tell me he doesn’t like to treat people as a group, but instead likes to look at them as individuals to figure out why these individuals are doing this thing. I do too! In fact, I’ll admit that the reason #YesAllWomen (in case you happened to see me floating around about this) got a rise out of me is because of false statistics being thrown around about rates of violence, using biased sources. The women’s stories themselves didn’t get a rise out of me, because #YesAllWomen DO face sexual harassment, and it is usually by males. Do all men do it? Absolutely not! But when it does happen, what do they all have in common? They happen to be male. So sometimes it is important to look at people as a group to understand why they use this one particular thing as an excuse to do these things.

For example, you have two groups who love one color: blue and red. There are some nice blues and reds, but let’s say blues have been historically oppressed by the reds. So the reds have been mean to them. ‘Not all reds!’ you say? Well, the reds that are oppressing the blues are oppressing the blues because they like the color red and they want the blues to like the color red, too. And, again, what do they have in common? They all happen to like the color red. So why do they feel the need to use the color red as an excuse to hate on the blues? Why do they feel the need to convert these people from blue to red? Should the nice reds apologize for the bad reds’ behavior? Absolutely not, because they’re not doing it, and their apology doesn’t mean anything because it’s not going to fix what those bad reds are doing.

This is the same issue. Why are there people out there who feel the need to use Christianity as an excuse to hate on groups of people? It doesn’t matter that it’s not all Christians. What matters is that when gay people are the subject of hatred and bigotry, it just so happens to be self-proclaimed Christians publicly spewing their bigotry. And I say publicly, because not all people who bully gays are self-proclaimed Christians and do so in public discourse. However, when talking about gay rights in public discourse, self-proclaimed Christians are the first to jump on board in the fight to deny them their rights.

Now let’s talk about the last panel. It is very true that when those in the community, or their Allies, point out their bigotry, they will cry that they are being oppressed. I have personally seen this, as have many gays who have experienced this. You try to tell them that what they’re saying is hateful, and they’ll tell you that they’re not being hateful, that they just want to “save” you, all in the name of being Christian. Then they’ll proceed to tell you you’re oppressing them, some using the example that as a Christian, they can get fired from their jobs for saying unpopular things about gays. Do you know why they can get fired? Because it’s considered hate speech now, and no employer has to put up with that. See it in the lens of racism and sexism. Would you really want to keep an employee who speaks poorly of all people of color or women or even men or whites or any group of people? No. Then why would you want to keep an employee who speaks poorly of the LGBTQ+ community? Those people often create toxic, uncomfortable environments for others, environments no one should have to put up with. They’re not firing you for being “Christian.” They’re firing you for hate speech.

They also get upset because they feel like you’re infringing on their right to have an opinion, and so they feel like that is oppression. Me calling out your bigotry is not oppression. What you’re saying is oppressive, and I’m calling you out on it and trying to make you understand why your comments are hateful. But they’ll still continue to cry oppression, then argue that Christians are a minority in America, when a simple Google search will tell you that 73-77% of Americans are Christian. That’s a large group of people, but luckily a great deal of Americans are in favor of LGBTQ+ rights.

But still…

The people most vocal about wanting to deny LGBTQ+ people their rights happen to be Christian. Do you understand what I’m saying?

After I deleted the post because of the derailment, she went on to post that hate comes from both sides, and that it’s not okay. She also mentioned in my post, rather unfairly, thus further derailing the point, that it’s not politically correct for other groups to insult gays, but it’s okay for gays to insult other groups. She’s right. Hate does come from both sides, but it’s not fair to derail something like this to point out a matter that was a non-issue when I was trying to explain the truthiness of this comic. Because, again, IT’S TRUE.





By considering the comic hateful and trying to point out that hate comes from both sides, some people are completely missing the point of the comic, either because they’re too wrapped up in their own feelings, or because they aren’t aware that something like this is completely true and 100% accurate. Notice that the girl (or even boy) in the comic isn’t being hateful. All he or she is saying to this person is to stop doing what he’s doing. That’s it. There is no hate coming from this victim.

It’s also not fair to imply that I was being politically correct by trying to point out why her derailment was wrong. When someone is saying something blatantly ignorant or bigoted, I point it out, not out of political correctness, but because that’s the right thing to do. That puts humanity on the right course. By remaining silent about it, that puts humanity on the wrong course. Or I could be reading her wrong and she’s pointing out my supposed politically correctness because she may have misunderstood me and thought I was supporting hate speech. Again. The comic was not hate speech.


Also by crying that this comic is hateful, these people are essentially telling gays to shut up about their experiences, to not tell their stories, all because they seem to think the comic is accusing all Christians of this. That’s not right. That’s wrong, very wrong. This comic is one way to tell the story of a collective experience that occurs among all gays, and to cast it in a humorous light so a situation like this doesn’t hold so much power over them.

A situation like this is actually harmful. The comic makes it funny, but, in reality, it is not funny.

So if someone is offended by this comic, it is mere annoyance. But what occurs in this comic is real and the people experiencing this feel beyond annoyed–so beyond annoyed that they’re not-even-in-our-universe-anymore annoyed. Their hurt. They feel bullied–and are being bullied. And such actions can lead to other dangerous things. One commenter on another post of mine pointed out that opinions aren’t oppressive. Words are oppressive. Remember that all horrible things that happened in our world started out as an opinion and grew from there.




The Problems With the Ally “Identity”

The Problems With the Ally “Identity”


Out of boredom at work, I decided to peruse AVEN (Asexuality Visibility Education Network) to see what musings or rantings the asexual community had recently posted. I stumbled across a thread about the A in LGBTQIA. Many people are confused about the A in LGBTQIA. Some thinks that it means Allies. Other thinks it means Asexuals. However, since asexuality has recently been accepted, or is still being accepted, into the LGBTQ+ club, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA historically meant Allies.

However, this does not mean the A should continue to stand for Allies. In fact, Allies shouldn’t even be considered in the equation at all, because Ally is neither a sexual nor gender identity.

It’s a label.

Am I perhaps making a mountain out of a molehill? Does one letter even matter?

To me it does, because I feel like those in the asexual community should be allowed to claim that ‘A.’ Some in the asexual community feel like we don’t belong in the LGBTQ+ group because they don’t understand that, in fact, asexuals do face some of the same issues that other sexual identities do. Erasure and corrective rape are just the tip of of the iceberg for the ace community. I had one follower on Tumblr message me to say that they had a friend who was beaten up for coming out asexual. Others would have the gall to argue this person might have been beaten up for other reasons, but what people don’t understand is that people have the capacity to hate what they don’t understand. Even worse, we asexuals are forced to be the ones to have other people understand, and that sucks. In fact, the post I linked above was written by me in response to a gay person on Tumblr who dared to tell me I was insulting said gay person by claiming asexuals experience oppression because of erasure. Erasure IS a part of oppression. And at the time, erasure and corrective rape were the only two issues I knew the ace community faced.

I also had another follower message me, saying they wanted to commit suicide because of their asexuality.

I feel that we do belong in the LGBTQ+ community because we are an ‘othered’ orientation. I suppose the alphabet soup doesn’t matter, because if we tack on A as something official, then we’ll have to tack on everything else that is non-heteronormative or non-cisgender, which is why many people are moving to GSM (gender sexual minorities). Still, that isn’t the point.

Shann Michael wrote a strongly worded post about people out there thinking that the A should be included for Allies. Now while the post seems to attack Allies, it makes a lot of good points. Frankly, only those who are the Allies Michael dismisses are going to be the ones to take offense to it. And believe me, there are a greater portion of Allies who aren’t really Allies than there are people who are actually Allies.

  1. Not just anyone can claim the title ‘Ally.’ Michael argues that “you cannot appoint yourself an ally,” and I agree. It’s not enough to say you support equality. You have to be active for the LGBTQ+ community to even deserve the title ‘Ally.’ Allies are continuously educating themselves about those in the LGBTQ+ community. They are educating others about those in the LGBTQ+ community. Whether they are writing blog posts educating others about us, attending pride events, petitioning for marriage equality or whatever, they HAVE to be doing something. They can’t just walk around telling others they support marriage equality and that’s it–or arguing on Facebook to someone who does not support marriage equality or what have you. As the above picture shows, only a few people actually do anything for those in the LGBTQ+ community.
  2. Ally should not be an identity because you are not part of the community. Your efforts are appreciated, but you cannot be part of the community because you do not face the struggles that those in the LGBTQ+ community do. Yes, I do recognize that Allies can be outed and be called debasing slurs, but Allies are still straight, still cisgendered. While bigots may question your identity, you still cannot, no matter how hard you try, know the struggles those in the LGBTQ+ community face. You cannot know how frustrating it is for Asexuals to be one of the most erased identities–and, as a Psychology Today article pointed out (linked in my Tumblr post), most dehumanized. In fact, I’m now just starting to feel the weight of having to hide my sexual orientation because I’m afraid of what others might think. I was going to do an informative speech on asexuality for my speech class, until I realized that I would be presenting this speech in front of actual people–two who are immediate family members. I kept going back and forth between doing this speech, and this whole struggle with doing it or not actually sunk me into a mild depression, because I really wanted to; the thought of doing it in front of immediate family members and strangers and how they would react to it made me sick. And it sucks, because that doesn’t help with erasure, which is why I think it’s far more important for Allies to educate themselves than for us to have to do it for them. Thus, I think Allies are very, very important for education purposes, but don’t think for a second you deserve to claim that ‘A’ in our acronym for being a decent human being. It’s enough to be accepted as an Ally to begin with, because those in the community are in charge of assessing whether or not you actually are an Ally–and being an Ally takes work, constant work.
  3. Your voices is not as important as the voice of a marginalized person. Just because you’ve read books, articles, attended classes on queer identities, pride parades, or speeches, does not mean that you suddenly understand what it’s like to be someone in the LGBTQ+ community, because you don’t. You never will, because you are not in that person’s shoes. As an asexual person, I cannot know the homsexual, bisexual, or pansexual experience. I only know the asexual experience. If you’re speaking about the asexual experience, my opinions on asexuality are more right than yours because I am asexual. Even if another asexual person disagrees with me, they disagree with me because they don’t have my experience. But if you are not asexual, your opinion isn’t as valid because you have no experience to back your opinion with. However, just because someone is asexual doesn’t mean they can’t be aphobic. Some have internalized aphobia. In this case, I think it is perfectly acceptable for you to step in and stop this aphobia in its tracks.
  4. Those in the LGBTQ+ community aren’t in charge of educating you–and those within the community are not in charge of educating each other. We are in charge of sharing our stories, not answering how do we know if we’re gay, bisexual, asexual, whatever. I HATE that I had to write that Tumblr post on how Asexuals Can Experience Oppression. I am STILL upset that I had to write it, because the ignorance I received in my Ask Box forced me to write it. The gay person who claimed I was insulting them because I said asexuals can experience oppression forced me to do research to back up my assertion. And that is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have had to do that. That gay person (and, yes, the sexual orientation does matter, because even those within the community can be unbelievably ignorant) should have done the research themselves instead of just assuming that asexuals face no oppression. They probably assumed this because aces are about 1% of the population, so there isn’t much known about us. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence on AVEN to show that we do face real problems. If this person had bothered to do any research, they would have known how insulting it was to tell me that asexuals do not face any oppression. I do not believe we face institutionalized oppression, but we still face it. If you want to know about us, listen to us and keep educating yourself about our issues. Don’t come up to me and ask ‘So how are asexuals oppressed?’ You wrongly assume in the first place that it is we asexuals crying oppression, when, in fact, others are forcing words into our mouths that we aren’t even saying. Do your research so that way we don’t have to do it for you. All we want to do is tell you our stories, not cite research papers to back up our experiences with asexuality.
  5. Don’t call attention to yourself. I cringe when I see paraphernalia for Allies. There are shirts for the Allies flag (the flag itself also makes me cringe). There are shirts that say ‘Ally’ on them. Pins that say ‘Ally LGBT.’ And shirts that say ‘Proud to be an Ally.’ There’s also a lot of other stuff Allies can boast to show their allyness, and all of it makes me cringe. Ally as an identity has become so pervasive that what it actually means to be an Ally has been diminished to t-shirts and buttons and flags. But, as I’ve stated above, you have to be accepted as an Ally by the LGBTQ+ community. If being an Ally means wearing a shirt that says ‘Proud to be an Ally,’ you’re calling attention to yourself, trying to put focus on your “identity,” instead of putting the focus on the marginalized sexualities and gender identities that need it. I mean, really, why would you feel the need to wear a shirt other than to boast about your allyness? Why do you need to boast you are proud to be one? Proud for reaching step one of what it means to be a decent person? People in the LGBTQ+ community wear paraphernalia that relates to us because we have to talk about our identities so people can understand us. The louder we are, through our voices, flags, clothing, and whatever else, the more people will have to pay attention to us so they can understand we exist, that we have real problems that need fixing, and that we aren’t going away. You don’t need to validate yourself as an Ally, because, at the end of the day, it’s not important that people know you’re an Ally. What’s important is that you do the work that it takes to be an Ally, which is way more than just screaming that you’re for equality.

Overall, Ally as an “identity” is problematic because claiming such a title, even when you don’t deserve it, and calling it an identity is suggesting that you want recognition for your work–or just your simple thoughts. It’s bragging. Plain and simple. You don’t deserve recognition, because the movement isn’t about you. Your recognition comes in knowing that the harder you work for us, the better things are going to be for us.